So, the VoIP E911 deadline came and went without much of a peep from the FCC. This really isn't that surprising. While the initial mandate from the FCC was that after November 28th all VoIP customers needed to have working E911 service, the FCC has continually backed down on various aspects of the plan. VoIP providers no longer needed to cut off those customers who didn't manually sign off on the fact that VoIP 911 worked differently than E911. Then, after a bunch of VoIP providers made it clear there was no way they could possibly provide E911 service to everyone by November 28th, the FCC finally agreed that customers without it wouldn't be cut off at all -- but this was based on one condition: providers could no longer sign up any new customers without giving them E911. On the 28th, VoIP providers needed to hand in their homework and tell the FCC how far they had gotten. One reason the FCC probably hasn't responded is they're reviewing all the information submitted. One of the things they'll notice is that, despite earlier promises from Vonage that offering E911 service would be a snap, it turns out that only about one-quarter of their customers have it. So, what about that condition to stop offering non-E911 service to new customers? Vonage has said flat out that they plan to ignore it: "Land-line and wireless companies are selling to customers without the availability of E911, and we are going to continue marketing and selling until we get further guidance from the FCC." Mentioning wireless companies is a smart tactic, as the FCC has been quite the pushover when it comes to E911 service for mobile phones, rolling back the deadline there by years, and still seeing many operators ignore it completely. Of course, all this is really highlighting is how silly it was for the FCC to have such a knee-jerk reaction on the VoIP 911 issue.
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